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Open thread and news updates 2/15

Community/Meta Discrimination

– A federal district court judge has ordered the Trump administration to stop discharging military servicemembers who have HIV. There’s more at the link including the order and decision.

– The anti-LGBT group Liberty Counsel is asking the Supreme Court to recall the mandate in King v. Murphy, the challenge to New Jersey’s ban on so-called conversion “therapy” for minors. This past year, the Court decided a case challenging a California law regulating “crisis pregnancy” centers, striking down the law as a violation of free speech. Liberty Counsel wants the Court to essentially allow reconsideration of the Third Circuit decision upholding the conversion therapy ban based on the Supreme Court decision in NIFLA.

This is an open thread and we’ll post any breaking news.

Thanks to Equality Case Files for these filings


  • 1. VIRick  |  February 15, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Florida: Another Federal Case against Ban on "Conversion Therapy"

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 13 February 2019, in "Otto v. City of Boca Raton, Florida," a federal challenge to both city and Palm Beach County ordinances banning "conversion therapy" for minors, Judge Rosenberg has denied a preliminary injunction to block enforcement of the ban.

    Liberty Counsel, representing the two plaintiff therapists in this case, has already filed a notice of appeal of the denial of the preliminary injunction with the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Order Denying Plaintiffs' Motion for Preliminary Injunction is here:

  • 2. VIRick  |  February 15, 2019 at 4:47 pm

    New Jersey: Liberty Counsel Does Not Understand "No"

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 11 February 2019, in "King v. Murphy," Liberty Counsel appealed the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals' refusal to reconsider its decision upholding New Jersey's "conversion therapy" ban by taking its challenge to said ban back to the US Supreme Court, asking it to rule on whether the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals should have "recalled the mandate," the mechanism used to reconsider an earlier ruling.

    The Petition for a Writ of Certiorari is here:

  • 3. VIRick  |  February 15, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    Poland: Court Rules in Favor of Possibility of Same-Sex Marriage

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    In Poland, on 11 February 2019, a local court in Warsaw has ruled that the Polish constitution does not ban same-sex marriage; instead, the court leaves the matter up to the legislature to amend the requisite laws in order to recognize it.

    The case concerns a gay Polish same-sex couple, Kuba and Dawid, who were legally married in Portugal in 2017 and who, ever since, have been seeking recognition of their Portuguese marriage in Poland.….

    Note: Portugal is one of a handful of EU nations who will marry same-sex foreign couples. So too will Spain, Belgium, and Ireland. In the others, at least one of the partners in a prospective marriage must be a local citizen.

  • 4. VIRick  |  February 15, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Virginia: Federal Court Orders Trump to Halt Discharge of HIV-Positive Airmen

    Per Equality Case Files:

    On 15 February 2019, in the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria Division, US District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema issued the ruling from the bench after hearing oral argument on both Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN’s motion for a preliminary injunction and the administration’s motion to dismiss. The administration's Motion to Dismiss was Denied and the plaintiffs' Motion for a Preliminary Injunction was Granted in part and Denied in part:

    The Memorandum Opinion is here:

    The Order is here:

  • 5. VIRick  |  February 15, 2019 at 6:03 pm

    Trump "National Emergency" Declaration Has Already Been Sued in Federal Court

    Late Friday afternoon, 15 February 2019, a consumer advocacy group filed the first lawsuit challenging Trump's "national emergency" declaration, suing on behalf of Texas landowners and an environmental group who say they'll be adversely affected by border wall construction.

    The case, filed by Public Citizen in federal District Court for the District of Columbia, is the first of what are expected to be multiple lawsuits challenging Trump's unprecedented decision to declare a national emergency in order to access $3.6 billion in military construction funds to pay for more sections of the wall he promised to build along the US–Mexico border.

    Trump announced the national emergency earlier on Friday, 15 February 2019, in a Rose Garden ceremony. In order to fund wall construction, the administration is also reprogramming $2.5 billion in money marked for Department of Defense counter-narcotics efforts (a truly stupid reprogramming and mis-directing of federal funding, as it will essentially gut all existing counter-narcotics efforts throughout the entire USA) and tapping $600 million from the Treasury Forfeiture Fund. However, stupid or not, neither move requires a "national emergency" declaration.

    Combined with the $1.375 billion appropriated by Congress, the administration thinks it is set to have access to approximately $8 billion for the wall this year.

    Public Citizen is arguing the president exceeded his authority under the federal National Emergencies Act because there is no emergency at the southern border, and that his declaration of a national emergency in order to build the wall violates the separation of powers — essentially, that it's unconstitutional for Trump to declare an emergency because Congress already refused to appropriate the money.

    The three landowners who are plaintiffs in the case said they were told by the federal government that sections of the wall would be built through their properties if funding became available in 2019 — they each said they'd received letters from Customs and Border Protection asking to come on their land to do an assessment. The other plaintiff, the Frontera Audubon Society, is located on a nature preserve in Texas and focuses its preservation efforts on the Rio Grande Valley. They claim that habitat would be harmed by border wall construction through the nature reserve.

    The lawsuit further challenges the reprogramming of Defense Department counter-drug funds to build a border wall, saying that such was not authorized under federal law.

  • 6. VIRick  |  February 15, 2019 at 11:01 pm

    Honduras: LGTBI Urges the CSJ to Approve Same-Sex Marriage

    Honduras: LGTBI Llega a la CSJ para que Aprueben Matrimonio Gay

    El presidente de la Asociación LGTBI Arcoiris de Honduras, Adonys Reyes, junto a demás miembros de la comunidad LGBT, se reunieron ayer, el 14 de febrero 2019, con magistrados de la Sala de lo Constitucional para verificar cómo avanza el recurso de inconstitucionalidad presentado al pleno acerca de los decretos del Congreso que prohíben el matrimonio de personas del mismo sexo.

    La misma acción realizaron varios líderes religiosos evangelistas la semana pasada, solamente que rogando a Dios lo contrario, que no se apruebe el matrimonio entre la comunidad LGTB.

    De igual forma, “los magistrados se han comprometido en estudiar y en darle el debido proceso a la consulta; no nos han dicho más nada, más que hacer el debido estudio de caso."

    The president of the Rainbow LGBTI Association of Honduras, Adonys Reyes, together with other members of the LGBT community, met yesterday, 14 February 2019, with the justices of the Constitutional Chamber to verify the advance of the unconstitutionality appeal presented to the chamber about the congressional decrees that prohibit same-sex marriage.

    The same action was carried out by a number of evangelical religious leaders last week, only begging God to the contrary, that marriage between members of the LGTB community not be approved.

    In the same way, "the justices have committed themselves to studying and giving due process to the consultation; they have not told us anything else, other than to do the proper study of the case."

    Note to Allan: The first paragraph of the original Spanish text was incorrect. I edited it (and thus, the English translation) to reflect the actual facts of the matter. Plesse verify that my changes are indeed correct.

    However, in the second paragraph, "rogando a Dios lo contrario" (begging God to the contrary), so succinctly summarizes the evangelicals' totally insane non-legal "legal' argument as presented last week, that I could not possibly wish to alter that!.

  • 7. VIRick  |  February 16, 2019 at 1:24 pm

    Germany to Ban Gay "Cure Therapy"

    Germany plans to push ahead with a ban on gay "cure therapy," the country’s health minister has said. Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn, the country’s most senior gay politician, told the newspaper. "Die Tageszeitung," that he would seek a ban on the discredited practice.
    In the 15 February 2019 interview he said: “Homosexuality is not a disease and it doesn’t need to be cured." Spahn said the challenge was in “practical implementation” of a ban, adding that he will seek to shape the law with the country’s Minister of Justice Katarina Barley.

  • 8. VIRick  |  February 16, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    Argentina: Yet Another Small Town Same-Sex Marriage First

    Mariela y Sandra Dieron el “Sí” en Villa Los Aromos

    De acuerdo a lo informado por la Comuna de Villa Los Aromos, Mariela y Sandra sellaron una historia de amor de hace varios años en el flamante Registro Civil de la localidad. El casamiento fue el 8 de febrero 2019, y estuvo acompañado de gran cantidad de gente. Se trata del primer matrimonio igualitario que hay en la Villa en su historia. “Celebramos esta unión,” manifestó el jefe comunal Carlos Zaval.

    According to information provided by the Commune of Villa Los Aromos, Mariela and Sandra sealed a love story of several years running in the brand-new Civil Registry of the town. The marriage occurred on 8 February 2019, and was accompanied by a large number of people. It is the first egalitarian marriage in the history of the town. "We celebrate this union," communal leader Carlos Zaval proclaimed.

    Villa Los Aromos is a town of 1400 people 50 km. southwest of Córdoba, Argentina.

  • 9. ianbirmingham  |  February 17, 2019 at 9:27 am

    Portion of Koreans opposed to homosexuality dips below 50% for the first time

    In a 2018 poll of 8,000 Korean adults, 49 percent said that they cannot accept homosexuals, down from 57.2 percent tallied in 2017, according to the Korea Institute of Public Administration. Koreans opposing homosexuality accounted for 62.1 percent in 2013 and has been since on the decline.

    In terms of the tendency for minority exclusion, Korean women were less accepting than men of criminals, homosexuals, North Korean defectors and immigrants. Korean men showed less openness toward physically challenged people and children of single parent families.

    As political orientation, more Koreans identify as liberals, the report said. It showed 47.4 percent of the surveyed identifying as politically moderate, followed by liberals with 31.4 percent and conservatives with 21.2 percent. In 2013, 22.6 percent of Koreans identified as liberals, compared with 31 percent as conservatives. But five years later, the trend was overturned.

  • 10. VIRick  |  February 17, 2019 at 2:02 pm

    Taiwan: Parties Equivocating as Marriage Equality Deadline Nears

    Per Rex Wockner:

    The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) have been equivocating over legislation to legalize same-sex marriage, as the Council of Grand Justices’ May deadline to amend the law nears. While the DPP remains divided over whether to introduce a bill on same-sex civil partnership or marriage, the KMT said that its legislators are free to take their own stance on the issue, the Chinese-language Apple Daily reported yesterday, 17 February 2019.

    On 24 May 2017, the Council of Grand Justices announced that a provision in the Civil Code limiting marriage to a union between a man and a woman is unconstitutional. According to the landmark Constitutional Interpretation, No. 748, same-sex marriage would automatically be legalized after two years, that is on 24 May 2019, if the Legislative Yuan failed to legalize it by then. However, the great justices did not specify whether the legislature should amend the Civil Code or introduce a separate law.

    Legislators would first study the Executive Yuan’s proposal on same-sex marriage and then work to reach a consensus, the Apple Daily quoted DPP Legislator Cheng Yun-peng (鄭運鵬) as saying. Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) last week said that the Executive Yuan would propose a special law based on the results of last year’s referendums and in line with the Council of Grand Justices’ ruling, to be submitted to the legislature before the end of the legislative session, in compliance with the Referendum Act (公民投票法).

    Note: There are only 95 days remaining before marriage equality becomes the law in Taiwan, whether the legislature acts upon it or not.

  • 11. VIRick  |  February 17, 2019 at 4:16 pm

    Perú: Twenty LGTBI Couples Symbolically Marry

    Perú: Veinte Parejas LGTBI se Casaron Simbólicamente

    Per LGBT Marriage News:

    Veinte parejas de LGTBI se casaron simbólicamente en el Parque del Amor en Miraflores como una respuesta ante la falta de una ley de matrimonio igualitario que legalice sus uniones. Muchas de ellos aprovecharon la oportunidad para renovar sus votos. El evento se realiza por décimo año consecutivo cada 14 de febrero.

    Twenty LGTBI couples were symbolically married in the Parque del Amor in Miraflores as a response to the lack of a marriage equality law legalizing their unions. Many of them took the opportunity to renew their vows. The event has been held for ten consecutive years each 14 February.

  • 12. psicotraducciones  |  February 17, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Were patiently waiting for the Constitutional Court to issue its ruling… they said it would arrive no later than early March

  • 13. ianbirmingham  |  February 17, 2019 at 5:09 pm

    For LGBTQ+ Women, Chinese New Year Can Be a Burden; Probing questions, pressure to assimilate and intolerance towards LGBTQ+ make Chinese New Year a painful time for many queer women

    Some of these women are happily out and accepted in China’s more progressive big cities. But the disconnect between this and their families’ expectations back home often falls into painful relief during the Spring Festival, when they are exposed to relatives’ judgments and prying questions.

    While coping mechanisms like sham marriages between gay men and lesbians in China have been well documented, what’s becoming more common for this generation of young queer women is to navigate the choppy waters of home visits and familial obligations without sacrificing their identity or personal happiness. This can involve walking a tightrope of subtle omissions and elaborate lies, or occasionally revealing the whole truth about their identities and relationships, no matter the consequences.

  • 14. VIRick  |  February 18, 2019 at 12:01 pm

    Nuevo León: Marriage Equality Ban Struck Down by Supreme Court

    Per Canal Judicial:

    Hoy, 18 de febrero 2019, el Pleno de la SCJN rendirá homenaje a la Ministra Margarita Luna Ramos y resolverá un asunto (un Acción de Inconstitucionalidad) en materia de matrimonio igualitario (en Nuevo León, 29/2018).

    Today, 18 February 2019, the Full Court of the SCJN will pay homage to Justice Margarita Luna Ramos and will then resolve an issue (an Action of Unconstitutionality) regarding marriage equality (in Nuevo León, 29/2018).

    Artículos 140 y 148 en la porción normativa ‘el hombre y la mujer’, del Código Civil para el Estado de Nuevo León, reformados mediante Decreto número 317, publicado en el Periódico Oficial del Gobierno Constitucional del Estado Libre y Soberano de Nuevo León, el día 8 de enero de 2018.

    Per Mario Rodriguez Platas:

    Afortunadamente para nosotros, ya estamos a la puerta del Congreso de Nuevo León, y ningún agorero del pasado podrá impedir que tengamos todos los derechos como todas las personas.

    Fortunately for us, we are already at the door of the Congress of Nuevo León, and no outrage from the past will be able to prevent us from having all the rights as all the people.

    The photo shows two gay men kissing in front of the Congress building in Monterrey.

  • 15. allan120102  |  February 18, 2019 at 2:36 pm

    The ban was supppse to be struck down today but apparently the goodbye to one of the justices that is retiring took more time than expect it. Not sure when its going to be discuss now the topic. Hopefully soon.

  • 16. VIRick  |  February 18, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    Regardless, it should still be the next item on their agenda. Everyone, including myself, is certainly ready. We had last-minute delays like this with the Chiapas ruling, too, didn't we?

    Note: Once this decision is actually rendered, it will go into effect after it has been officially published, and the published document disseminated down through an assortment of state-level authorities, which, based upon previous experiences with Supreme Court rulings against Jalisco, Puebla, and Chiapas, will take about 4-6 months before we will see actual implementation on-the-ground, and same-sex couples actually marrying in Nuevo León.

  • 17. arturo547  |  February 19, 2019 at 12:13 pm

    It’s now official: The Mexican Supreme Court has unanimously struck down the same-sex marriage ban in Nuevo León.


  • 18. VIRick  |  February 19, 2019 at 12:41 pm

    Yay! I sensed it was coming, given that it had already been announced as the next item on their agenda following yesterday's tributes to retiring Justice Margarita Luna Ramos.

    Thus, everything I posted above is correct except for the date of issuance of the unanimous ruling, which now can officially be cited as 19 February 2019. We truly needed a win, as it has been quite a while (since November 2017) since Baja California quit obfuscating, and issued their statewide directive allowing for marriage equality.

    In terms of the court, Tamaulipas and Sinaloa are next.

  • 19. VIRick  |  February 18, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Durango: Marriage Equality to be Demanded in State Congress

    Per Tadeo Campagne:

    Mañana, el 19 de febrero 2019, a las 10:30 AM, asistiremos al congreso Durango. Exigiremos Matrimonio Igualitario y Identidad De Género.

    Tomorrow, 19 February 2019, at 10:30 AM, we will attend the Durango congress. We will demand Equal Marriage and Gender Identity.

    Tadeo Campagne is a social activist and defender of human rights in Durango.

  • 20. VIRick  |  February 18, 2019 at 3:56 pm

    Edomex: Current Marriage Equality Situation in State Congress

    Luchan activistas por el matrimonio igualitario en el Edomex. Urgen a no fomentar los discursos que promueven el odio; PRD y PT aprueban la iniciativa, el PAN y el PES la rechazan, PRI se abstiene, y Morena y el PVEM, aún indecisos.

    Activists fight for marriage equality in Edomex. They urge not to encourage discourse that promotes hatred; PRD and PT approve the initiative, PAN and PES reject it, PRI abstains, and Morena and PVEM are still undecided.

    Since Morena controls 38 of the 75 seats in the Edomex Congress, the issue is now totally and completely up to them, as Verde's vote will not make a difference (although one would think that both "progressive" parties would be in favor).

    In addition, the PRD is also accusing Morena of blocking (or holding up progress on) their marriage equality proposals in both the Guerrero and Hidalgo State Congresses:

  • 21. Mechatron12  |  February 18, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    I have to say, I'm not terribly impressed with Morena's gay rights stances so far. Any idea why they are acting like this?

  • 22. VIRick  |  February 18, 2019 at 7:17 pm

    I am pissed with Morena because I had grand hopes that, finally, marriage equality would be summarily legalized in the majority of the remaining states in Mexico.

    Despite the fact that Morena has a national policy on marriage equality, on the more local level, it appears to be more of a hastily thrown together pastiche of opportunists and hangers-on, newcomers without much political experience who either do not know what to do, or who are wolves in sheep's clothing, ex-priistas pretending to be part of the "new wave" of leftists who made the switch at the correct moment and who were accidentally swept into power by AMLO's big presidential win.

    Morena's boycott of the Edomex legislative session so that they would not have to listen to, nor vote upon, PRD's initiative on marriage equality was especially disillusioning. A few years ago, that maneuver would be more like what PRI or PAN would have done. And of course, both PRI and PAN did join Morena in the boycott, leaving only the handful of PRD and PT members to look at each other in a near-empty room.

    The majority of Edomex's population live in the suburban sprawl extending west, northwest, and north from CDMX, the most liberal, progressive entity of the republic. One would think that at least some of that liberal, progressive attitude would also spill over into Edomex.

  • 23. Fortguy  |  February 19, 2019 at 2:05 am

    Let's keep in mind that on the Mexican left, there are two kinds of parties. One group is single-issue parties such as the PT, representing independent labor and the well-being of the working class, and the Greens, nominally an environmentalist party. While the PT has been supportive of LGBT rights, they have never been particularly a vanguard on our behalf as, well, we're outside of the portfolio of their concerns. The Greens, on the other hand, have been downright hostile to us and to many other non-environmentalist causes on the left.

    The other group is made up of broad-based parties formed of coalitions of often divergent interests on the left. There has rarely been room for more than one of these parties, and when there has been, it usually means that one is ascendant and the other is either becoming irrelevant or moving to the right to stay relevant. The PRI originally held this role in modern times until they lost their ability to hold on to power by any means necessary and became associated with so much corruption that progressive Mexicans could no longer stomach them.

    Since then, the PRD (and its progenitor parties such as the defunct PSUM) has served this role. The PRD has come breathtakingly close to power under the very charismatic leadership of AMLO and former PRIista Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, but due to a nasty spat within the party leadership, AMLO bolted and joined Morena, a young and previously marginal party. Morena's phenomenal success can be attributed to nothing more than AMLO's charismatic persona, and not to any significantly meaningful distinction between the PRD and Morena. Furthermore, remember that AMLO chose to join in coalition with the horribly homophobic PES, an evangelical Christian party, during the last election. Similarly, most of these people elected by Morena are opportunists who themselves were not members of Morena before AMLO nor held any deep-seated partisan loyalties or political convictions other than clutching his coattails.

    AMLO's days of appearing as the Mexican version George Washington/Abraham Lincoln/Franklin Roosevelt rolled into one are fixing to be over. He is president now, and doesn't have the luxury of screaming out radical slogans in front of rallies of supporters. Now, he has to do the grudge work of building the relationships he needs in order to accomplish only what he can pragmatically hope to achieve. He will inevitably lose his luster, and so will Morena. Mexico doesn't allow reelection, and we will have to see whether Morena will continue to be a force without him or if the PRD, an older, more consistent, and more established party, will reemerge as the primary party of the left.

  • 24. VIRick  |  February 18, 2019 at 4:49 pm

    Yucatán: State Congress Set to Discuss Marriage Equality and Same-Sex Adoption

    The next state where an actual vote on the marriage equality proposal seems likely is in Yucatán, where the political party dynamics appear to be somewhat different, given that it is about the last state in Mexico where PRI still controls a majority:

    El tema del matrimonio igualitario, que por años e incluso legislaturas se ha pospuesto en el Congreso del Estado (de Yucatán), por fin se abordaría para su discusión y resolución en este período, según informaron los coordinadores de las bancadas del PRI y del PAN.

    La diputada (del PAN) precisó que en el tema de adopción entre parejas del mismo sexo es por supuesto una preocupación del PAN, y están los alcances que pueda tener la iniciativa del exgobernador sobre que los niños también tienen derechos, como el derecho a elegir, de legitimarse el matrimonio igualitario, si quieren vivir con padres del mismo sexo.

    The issue of marriage equality, which for years and even legislatures has been postponed in the State Congress (of Yucatán), should finally be addressed for discussion and resolution during this session, according to the coordinators of the PRI and PAN congressional groups.

    The PAN deputy said that the issue of adoption between same-sex couples is of course a concern of PAN, as is the scope that the initiative of the former governor might have upon children who also have rights, such as the right to choose, to legitimize marriage equality, if they want to live with same-sex parents.

    Note: On this latter matter, the Yucatán State Congress has no choice, as they have been ordered by the Supreme Court to allow same-sex adoption, and to allow children to opt to live with same-sex parents, an important point which adds an additional layer of complexity and urgency to the entire issue within this state. (The state lost a suit before the Supreme Court brought by a same-sex couple on behalf of their children.) The current congressional session ends on 15 April.

    If they only change the one item concerning adoption and the children's right to choose, but simultaneously fail to legalize marriage equality, then we have grounds for filing an "Action of Unconstitutionality." If they do nothing, then there's grounds for contempt and a suit claiming "Legislative Omission." The leader of PRI, Felipe Cervera Hernández, is a major do-nothing who finally appears to have run out of delaying options.

  • 25. VIRick  |  February 18, 2019 at 6:26 pm

    Yucatán: Second Summary View of Current Marriage Equality Situation

    El activista Alex Orué, junto con el abogado Carlos Escoffié Duarte, presentaron una solicitud dirigida a la Comisión de Puntos Constitucionales y Gobernación que encabeza Karla Franco Blanco para que la discusión de la iniciativa de ley para el matrimonio igualitario se realice bajo el esquema de parlamento abierto para que la sociedad civil pueda ser escuchada.

    Como hemos informado, la discusión del matrimonio igualitario en el congreso local esta en puerta, pues la SCJN deshecho una solicitud de amparo para que el poder judicial del estado declarara una "omisión legislativa" lo que hubiese obligado a los diputados locales a discutir una iniciativa de ley ingresada desde el 2013 por en entonces diputado perredista Bayardo Ojeda Marrufo sobre el matrimonio igualitario.

    Empero en el ocaso de la LXI legislatura, el ex gobernador Rolando Zapata Bello envió una iniciativa de ley para avalar el matrimonio entre dos personas del mismo sexo. Sin embargo nunca se discutió, pero si se turnó a comisiones lo que dejo contra la pared a los actuales diputados, y que la programaron para ser discutida en los próximos días.

    The activist Alex Orué, along with the lawyer Carlos Escoffié Duarte, presented a request addressed to the Commission of Constitutional Points and Governance headed by Karla Franco Blanco to allow for the discussion on the initiative of law for marriage equality to be carried out under the open parliamentary scheme so that civil society can be heard.

    As we have reported, the discussion of marriage equality in the local congress is at the door, ever since the SCJN dismissed an application for protection requesting that the state judicial power declare a "legislative omission" in order to force the local deputies to discuss an initiative of law filed since 2013 by then-PRD deputy Bayardo Ojeda Marrufo on marriage equality.

    But in the twilight of the LXI legislature, former Governor Rolando Zapata Bello sent a bill to endorse marriage between same-sex couples. However, it was never discussed, but was instead turned over to commissions that left the current deputies against the wall (without a choice), and who have scheduled it to be discussed in the coming days.

  • 26. VIRick  |  February 18, 2019 at 9:31 pm

    Coalition of States Sue Trump over "National Emergency" to Build Wall

    A coalition of 16 states filed a federal lawsuit Monday, 18 February 2019, to block Trump’s plan to build a border wall without permission from Congress, arguing that the president’s decision to declare a national emergency is unconstitutional. The lawsuit, brought by states with Democratic governors — plus Maryland — seeks a preliminary injunction that would prevent the president from acting on his emergency declaration while the case plays out in the courts.

    The complaint was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, a San Francisco-based court whose judges have ruled against an array of other Trump administration policies, including on immigration and the environment.

    In the 56-page complaint, California AG Becerra and his counterparts argue that diverting money that Congress has designated for other purposes violates the separation of powers defined in the Constitution. The lawsuit also alleges that the “federal government’s own data prove there is no national emergency at the southern border that warrants construction of a wall. Customs and Border Protection data show that unlawful entries are near 45-year lows.”

    In addition to California, the states participating in the suit are Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, and Virginia. With the exception of Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), the governors of the states are Democrats. The suit names as defendants the president, the departments of Defense, Treasury, Interior and Homeland Security and senior officials of those departments.

  • 27. VIRick  |  February 18, 2019 at 10:06 pm

    North Carolina: Witness Testifies to Tampering with Absentee Ballots

    Raleigh – A key witness testified Monday, 18 February 2019, that she engaged in fraudulent and illegal activity involving absentee ballots in a congressional race in North Carolina as part of a get-out-the vote operation to benefit the Republican congressional candidate in NC-9 in a race that is still unresolved.

    In frank testimony before the North Carolina State Board of Elections, Lisa Britt said that she was paid to collect absentee ballots in the 2018 election by McCrae Dowless, a political operative hired by consultants for Republican congressional candidate Mark Harris. Britt said some of the ballots she collected were unsealed and uncompleted and testified she filled out the options left blank for Republican candidates — an admission of vote tampering that violates North Carolina law.

  • 28. ianbirmingham  |  February 19, 2019 at 12:49 pm

    Trump administration launches global effort to end criminalization of homosexuality

    U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, the highest-profile openly gay person in the Trump administration, is leading the effort, which kicks off Tuesday evening in Berlin. The U.S. embassy is flying in LGBT activists from across Europe for a strategy dinner to plan to push for decriminalization in places that still outlaw homosexuality — mostly concentrated in the Middle East, Africa and the Caribbean.

    Although the decriminalization strategy is still being hashed out, officials say it’s likely to include working with global organizations like the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as other countries whose laws already allow for gay rights. Other U.S. embassies and diplomatic posts throughout Europe, including the U.S. Mission to the E.U., are involved, as is the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

    Narrowly focused on criminalization, rather than broader LGBT issues like same-sex marriage, the campaign was conceived partly in response to the recent reported execution by hanging of a young gay man in Iran, the Trump administration’s top geopolitical foe.

    Yet by using gay rights as a cudgel against Iran, the Trump administration risks exposing close U.S. allies who are also vulnerable on the issue and creating a new tension point with the one region where Trump has managed to strengthen U.S. ties: the Arab world.

    In Saudi Arabia, whose monarchy Trump has staunchly defended in the face of human rights allegations, homosexuality can be punishable by death, according to a 2017 worldwide report from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA). The report identified 72 nations that still criminalize homosexuality, including eight where it’s punishable by death.

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